Sixteen runners have been included in nominations for the 2016 Underwood Stakes (1800m); highlighted by the pending appearance of several previous winners at the highest level at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday.
Awesome Rock charged home to take out the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) a fortnight ago and is interestingly the only horse included in Underwood Stakes nominations to carry winning form.
Awesome Rock has undoubtedly returned to racing this year in career-best form to date, but required a run when twelfth in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) first-up on February 13th.
Progressing to fourth in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) on February 27th, the Fastnet Rock entire crossed the line first in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on March 12th but lost on protest, having been ruled to have hampered the run of Preferment.
Returning to the paddock after failing to fire in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), Awesome Rock resumed this time for tenth in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m), in what was his only other start prior to the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
The Cleaner arguably should have won the Underwood Stakes in 2015 but has been included in nominations for this year’s event by new trainer Peter Gelagotis.
A cult hero during his time with Longford-based trainer Mick Burles, The Cleaner won both the 2014 and 2015 editions of the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes; subsequently securing ballot-free entry into two Cox Plates.
Failing to make anything of his first-up run for Gelagotis when eleventh in the PB Lawrence Stakes on August 13th, the Savoire Vivre gelding placed fifth in his defence of the Dato’ last time out, but will have to muster a career-best performance to win the Underwood Stakes this weekend.
Darren Weir is set to launch a multi-pronged attack in the race after lodging four Underwood Stakes nominations, including Black Heart Bart and Prince Of Penzance.
A former Perth galloper, Black Heart Bart was rated little chance of success in his first start for Weir in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), but mustered a huge turn of foot to finish a close second to The Quarterback.
Progressing to success in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m), the Blackfriars gelding again placed second in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) before breaking through for a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) on May 21st.
Having returned to the paddock for a brief freshen-up after finishing second in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), Black Heart Bart returned to racing this time for success in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) before running a close second in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) last time out.
Melbourne Cup hero Prince Of Penzance is yet to make much of an impact through two starts this time, but will relish a step up to 1800 in the Underwood Stakes.
The 2016 Underwood Stakes field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday.
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2016 Underwood Stakes Nominations
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp Rating|
|1||21x0420x01||AWESOME ROCK||H||5||Leon & Troy Corstens||109|
|2||486x8222x3||BIG MEMORY (FR)||G||7||Tony McEvoy||98|
|3||2x21212x12||BLACK HEART BART||G||6||Darren Weir||114|
|4||57x0955x30||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||G||7||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||102|
|5||15x2018x73||HE OR SHE||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||104|
|6||12111134×0||HOWARD BE THY NAME||H||4||Darren Weir||98|
|7||475×118284||JACQUINOT BAY||G||9||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||104|
|8||48915x41x4||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||M||6||Kris Lees||114|
|9||230x5501x5||OUR IVANHOWE (GER)||H||7||Lee & Anthony Freedman||112|
|10||55821x2x06||PRINCE OF PENZANCE (NZ)||G||7||Darren Weir||113|
|11||4x8xD21x00||SIGNOFF (IRE)||G||7||Darren Weir||107|
|12||31x4214x80||TARZINO (NZ)||H||4||Mick Price||109|
|13||2113061×0||TAVAGO (NZ)||G||4||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||108|
|14||10x81642x4||THE BANDIT (JPN)||H||5||John Sadler||78|
|15||5x21377x05||THE CLEANER||G||9||Peter Gelagotis||109|
|16||1457029×96||TRANSFER ALLOWANCE||G||7||Peter Roche||72|